But to destroy such a system as slavery, thus completely interwoven with everything in church and state, permeating the mass and diffusing itself through the very atmosphere of public and private life, involved the breaking up of institutions and asociations hallowed by time and the most tender memories. In attaining the great good sought there could not but be much incidental evil; in rooting up the tares there was manifest danger of injury to the wheat. But these consequences and conditions this class of reformeres promptly accepted, and, with an unsparing iconoclasm, they dashed to the ground whatever idols of popular faith interfered with the people's acceptance of the doctrines they deemed of paramount importance. Abjuring party organizations, coming out from the churches, and condemning with unsparing censure whatever in their esteem gave countenance and encouragement to slavery, they necessarily assumed an attitude of antagonism to those they so severely condemned, and uttered many sentiments that grated harshly on the popular ear. But, while thus obnoxious to the charge of indifference to the passions, prejudices, and even the principles, of the dominant classes of society, and committed, as many thought, to theories more abstract than practical, it was always seen that to the sigh of the individual bondman their ear was ever attent, and that for the help of the poor and trembling fugitive their hand was ever open and generous.
From the annexation of Texas, in 1845, to the enactment of the Fugitive Slave Law, in 1850, they pursued with a good deal of vigor this line of policy. Discarding religious and political organizations, the ballot, and all the enginery of its legitimate and effective use, they denied themselves many of the ordinary methods of reaching the popular mind, and relied mainly on the use of the press, the popular convention, and other meetings of the people. They not only held such convocations by special appointment at various points at the North, but they always observed the anniversaries of national independence and of West India emancipation as days specially appropriate to their mission to the American people. To the annual meetings of the American, New England, and the several state societies were added fairs, held for the twofold purpose of putting funds into their exchequer and of bringing their ideas before the people. In carrying forward this work, Garrison, Phillips, Quincy, Douglass, Wright, Foster, Burleigh, and Pillsbury were among the recognized leaders and advocates. Theodore Parker and Ralph Waldo Emerson, though not distinctively belonging to their organization, largely sympathized with their efforts, and were occasionally welcomed to their platform. In the same work they were assisted by the pens and voices of several women. Among them were Mrs. Child, Mrs. Chapman, Lucretia Mott, Mrs. Abby Kelly Foster, and Lucy Stone. During a portion of these years, too, Garrison, Douglass, Henry C. Wright, and James Buffum were in Europe, and presented the cause to the British public.
Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America by Henry Wilson
James R. Osgood and Company, Boston, 1874, Volume II, pages 107-109.